The multiplicity of Plasmodium falciparum infections is associated with acquired immunity to asexual blood stage antigens.
SourceMicrobes and Infection, 11, 1, (2009), pp. 108-14
Article / Letter to editor
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Microbes and Infection
SubjectN4i 3: Poverty-related infectious diseases; NCMLS 1: Infection and autoimmunity
We evaluated the relationship between immune response markers and the multiplicity of Plasmodium falciparum infections in order to assess the validity of the latter as an indicator of the acquisition of anti-malarial immunity. Parasite populations present during malaria episodes of 64 Gabonese children who presented with at least 4 such attacks during active follow-up over a 7-year period were characterized using MSP-1 and MSP-2 PCR-based methods. Plasma samples taken at healthy and parasite-free phase were used to measure P. falciparum antigen-specific antibody and cytokine activity. We found evidence of intra- and inter-individual variation in the number of parasite genotypes present in different malaria episodes, although in 72% of isolates no more than 2 parasite genotypes were detectable. Samples with the highest multiplicity were from children with significantly lower (p < 0.03) antibody responses to specific asexual stage antigens. Additionally, the whole blood interferon-gamma production capacity was significantly higher (p < 0.02) in those with lower infection multiplicity. Malaria episodes with multiple clones indeed reflect a low level of acquired immunity and a consequently poor capacity to control the infection. These findings suggest that the multiplicity of falciparum infection may be a potentially useful parameter in the evaluation of malaria control interventions.
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- Faculty of Medical Sciences 
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